Branding is a well-known marketing phenomenon that represents a set of ideas and tactics that a company exploits to establish a certain image in the eyes of its customers. However, there is one important thing to remember here: offline and online branding are not the same things.
While it is true that both processes build awareness, generate leads, and increase customer loyalty, the very nature of online and offline environments demands different approaches and marketing techniques.
Online marketing has the potential to reach global audiences almost instantly, so most companies put a greater emphasis on this channel of promotion. We will also focus on it in our article, showing you 10 must-follow rules for effective online branding.
1. Understand Target Audience
Before you create the online branding strategy, you need to analyze the target audience and understand how your average customers behave. The more you learn, the better the strategy. There are dozens of details to consider here, but these are the essentials:
- Age and gender: Who makes your average consumer, a high school girl or a middle-aged security officer?
- Location: Do you know where they live? Location-based preferences are always important.
- Income level: Can they afford expensive products or look for cheap items?
- Education: Your style and content depend on the academic background of the average buyer.
- Values: How they think and feel? Do you know the values your audience nurtures?
2. Build Brand Identity
Now that you know everything about the target audience, it’s much easier to build brand identity. You need to take a stance, distinguishing your brand from the crowd of competitors. Choose your direction – do you sell premium or low-cost products? Which values and emotions describe you the best? Be clear about it and your customers will remember you quickly.
3. Use Compelling Design
The design is a major component of online branding because it tells so much about your brand. First of all, you need to select the right colors to represent your business. There is a subconscious psychology behind each color, so you need to align it with your general values. When you discover the most appealing color scheme, make sure to use it for all visual elements such as logos, templates, fonts, etc.
When you make the first step down the branding road, you need to persistent. According to the report, an average consumer needs 5 to 7 impressions before he remembers your brand. But if you don’t practice online branding consistency, how can you expect them to remember you? You must nurture the same style and use the same visual patterns across all channels to ensure the uniqueness of the brand.
5. Optimize Website
Online branding is specific because users consume digital content on all sorts of different devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. In such circumstances, you have to make sure that your website functions properly across all channels and on multiple devices.
Take care of device types, screen sizes, dimension, and other sorts of technical specifications. Mobile optimization is particularly important because the number of smartphone owners is constantly increasing, while more than half of all product-related searches are made through mobile phones.
6. Content Creation
Content creation is critical if you want to distinguish yourself from other brands. Why is that so? Well, it’s because you can display professional authority and expertise, proving that you do things on the highest level possible. To achieve this, you need to develop a special style of writing, running a quality blog that covers topics from all angles.
Besides that, you should utilize multimedia content such as images, infographics, podcasts, and videos. It’s not easy to keep coming up with superb content week after week, but if you can handle it, you will make a huge impact on the target audience.
7. Use Social Media
Social media like Facebook and Instagram gather over 2.5 billion daily active users globally. This fact should be more than enough to convince you to use social platforms as part of the marketing strategy.
However, don’t forget that your social accounts also need to follow the same rules and principles of online branding. Keep it aligned with other channels of promotion, and you will be able to raise brand awareness even more.
8. Mind the Engagement
Speaking of content creation and social media, we need to remind you that brand followers expect you to engage in online communication. Don’t just publish content. Instead, you should invite people to share, like, and comment your posts.
On the other hand, your job is to follow user feedback and answer them as soon as possible. It’s your tactic to strengthen the bonds between the brand and its followers, revealing the human side of the business.
9. Be Honest
What happens online – stays online. You can hardly remove content from the Internet, so you better pay attention to your words. Try to be honest and don’t promise to do something if you can’t deliver.
Honesty is the only way to build trust among customers. It’s better to admit a mistake or say you can’t do something than to make a promise you can’t fulfill. After all, you are not a superhero and users will understand if you can’t make all their wishes come true.
10. Measure and Improve
Now that you’ve seen most of the online branding rules, there is one thing left to discuss. It’s necessary to measure results and follow the progress of your online branding efforts. Make sure to test different branding elements, detect pain points, and solve issues.
For instance, you can do the A/B testing of CTA buttons to determine the most effective color. If you realize that doesn’t perform as well as red, feel free to replace it. The same procedure goes for other elements of online branding, from landing pages to typography.
Branding is one of the major marketing concepts that can make all the difference between successful and underperforming companies. While offline and online branding share the same purpose, the two concepts greatly differ by style, marketing tools, and promo tactics.
In this article, we showed you 10 must-follow rules for effective online branding. Did you already try any of these tips? Do you have other valuable suggestions to share with our readers? Let us know in comments and we’ll be glad to discuss this topic with you!
About the Author!
Olivia is a young journalist who is passionate about topics of career, recruitment and self-development. She constantly tries to learn something new and share this experience on AussieWritings as well as on other relevant websites. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.